The economy has claimed another casualty at City Hall as District 8 City Councillor Ron Morgese, citing the travel demands of his full-time job, surprised many by announcing his resignation from the City Council. Councillor Morgese, a three-term veteran of the Council who was unopposed for re-election this past November, will serve out the remainder of the current term but will not accept reappointment when the 2010-11 City Council is sworn-in this upcoming January 4.
“It’s bad out there,” said Morgese about the economy. “My job in this terrible economy has me travelling four, five and even six days a week. That’s four, five and even six days a week that I’m out of Chelsea and away from my district. I have too much respect for those I represent and too much appreciation for what happens here in city government to try to give the job of being a district city councillor the hands-on attention it needs.”
Morgese is a Regional Sales Manager at a software company. While successful at that, he says that he has never seen a business environment like this.
“The current economic environment has created hyper intense competition and demanding expectations from both customers and employers. As a result of layoffs, individual employees such as me are faced with an intense increase in responsibilities, workload and travel. The end result is that much more time, effort and focus is required to succeed. This is no longer a temporary situation but rather has become the new normal in today’s business world,” explained Morgese.
News of his departure saddened numerous City officials.
“Ron has been a real leader on the Council,” said Council President Brian Hatleberg. “He brought the right balance of community activism and business principles to the table. That perspective will be missed.”
“He’s been a real role model,” said incoming Council President Leo Robinson. “Ron understood the intricacies of budgeting and administration, and could ask the probing questions that would get to the bottom of any issue. But, as much as he enjoyed that, he much more enjoyed being the district councillor and helping his residents solve their problems and get better municipal service.”
City Manager Jay Ash said he developed a close relationship and a real appreciation for Morgese’s dedication and “tireless pursuit of what was right and good.”
“Ron easily was my most frequent e-mailer and the most energetic district councillor I’ve ever seen. Time and again, when he got a call about something troubling somebody in the district, he’d actually go out and inspect the situation, no matter the time or conditions. And he was the proverbial ‘dog on a bone.’ Once Ron took up a cause or saw an injustice, he would not rest until he succeeded in making a difference on it,” reflected Ash.
While Morgese shied away from taking credit for his actions, Ash was not so reserved about Morgese’s impacts.
“He almost single-handedly willed so much, from better odor recovery equipment on oil tanks to major infrastructure improvements throughout his district. He was largely responsible for getting the State to maintain its commitment to Mary O’Malley Park and developed an unbelievable relationship that resulted in the State Police dedicating more resources to events up there like the annual Fourth of July observation. He was a huge champion of economic development and really led the charge on several of the most important developments the city has seen, including what has happened on Admirals Hill and at the Mystic Mall.
“There’s been nobody better at representing his district and our community. We’ve been lucky to have his impactful service,” added Ash.
Morgese’s resignation adds another critical issue to the new Council’s first month of work in January. In addition to setting up the new government, organizing the decennial review of the City Charter and managing difficult budget issues, Council President-elect Leo Robinson said selecting a replacement for Morgese is a top priority.
“The Charter requires that the City Council appoint a successor to Morgese within thirty days of his vacancy of office. I’m sure we’ll meet the timetable, although it may be tough to find someone to measure up to the legacy Ron has established,” concluded Robinson.